Your next step is to hire an Attorney to help you decide what your next step is.
We offer general concepts, but you should give ALL your facts to a licensed Attorney in your state before you RELY upon any legal advice.
First hire attorney that knows CO WC law.
But looking at this one step at a time: does your employer have work within your restrictions? is so, go to work. If not, you probably have to look for suitable work on your own or with WC's help. The key is to understand what the law requires so your paycheck continue. Some states provide for retraining if suitable work is not available and if neither work or retraining are possible you might get permanant disability checks and lifetime medical.
Another thing to consider is whether and when to apply for social security disability, which is based on your age, education, work hisotry and medical condition/ability to work.
I am sure you have never been in this situation. You really need the best advice in order to make the right decisions.
I am licensed to practice law only in Illinois. Any advice that I render is for general information purposes and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Also it is very important to keep in mind that all legal claims have statues of limitation to file that cannot be missed. A local attorney should be consulted to learn the time limits applicable to a particular claim.
I'm not licensed in Colorado, but am aware YOU -- the injured worker -- have a burden of proof to show the amount of permanent disability.
If you're using the findings of a physician 'in bed' with the comp adjuster, you've already shot yourself in the foot.
Which is why my learned colleagues suggested an attorney.
I'll pop in the the Colorado Division of Workers Compensation page links so you can read the helpful answers there... but, basically, you have to get evidence to the Claims Mgt Unit to prove your amount of disability, and it doesn't sound like you should try that without expert counsel.
You should sit down with a worker's comp attorney to review your options.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.
You are really faced with a lot of hard decisions and issues:
It is critical that you get to a Colorado Lawyer whose primary practice is representing injured workers. If you have permanent restrictions that means that your Treating Doctor has placed you at MMI - meaning that the carrier will soon file a paper called a Final Admission of Liability and seek to shut down and close your claim. You do not need to be in agreement, you do not have to sign anything, and refusing to cash a check will not stop your case from closing.
Sadly - I meet with injured workers who thought otherwise and they are stuck with what the insurance carrier decides to gave them. So please - please - get to an attorney IMMEDIATELY to make sure your case does not close.
SECOND: If you cannot do your old job you should do the following: (1) Are you sure you can't do it? Is there some small easy change that could be made that would allow you to do the job. Example: I can't lift things over head - solution - if I had a step stool - I could do that work without lifting overhead. If so then request those small changes. (2) Is there another job at the company that you are qualified to do - and that job is open? If so - apply for that job. If your answer was yes to either 1 or 2 and the employer refuses you - then file a charge of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for Disability Discrimination - and again.... talk with an employment lawyer.
THIRD: In workers compensation - once you reach MMI and have permanent work restrictions - you are not eligible for wage loss benefits unless you can show you are so disabled you cannot work any job for any amount of pay. "Any pay" means any amount of pay - not just what you used to earn - but if you can do a part time minimum wage job then you get no benefit for losing your old job. So that is another reason why you need a lawyer to maximize your other benefits so that you have options for re-training if you can't do your old job.